Making Money on Upwork: 7 Key Tips Freelancers Should Know to Get Hired Every Time 186

Making Money on UpWork: 7 Key Tips Freelancers Should Know to Get Hired Every Time - upwork profile, fees, job proposals, clients

Everyone entering the freelancing scene online, realizes sooner or later that there are a few major platforms that we all need to have presence on. These are sites connecting contract workers like us with potential employers. I’ll now guide you through the most important steps of building your expertise with one of the most popular ones – UpWork – and how to make making money on UpWork possible. is one of the top global marketplaces for independent freelancers and businesses. It lets them connect and do work remotely.

The platform was formerly known as Elance and also oDesk, so you might have heard of these too.

The latest rebranding happened in 2015, and since then they have been consistent with their online image and business goals.

Every independent professional looking to get started with making money online, find their first client, or build some initial expertise to later use for their portfolio, should not only have an Upwork profile, but invest enough time in understanding how the platform works exactly.

Many of the tips I’ll share below can easily be used for all other sites like Upwork. These are,, PeoplePerHour, and more.

Let’s get to action and see how to become the ideal candidate and get hired often.

1. Make your Upwork profile stand out.

Alright, there are currently around 12 million registered freelancers on the platform.

And while many of them aren’t active, don’t have any experience in their niche, offer low quality work, whose English is bad, etc, it’s still a lot of people to compete with.

I know what it’s like pretty well.

Freelance work on sites like Upwork has been my first ever proper income stream from my digital endeavors. I still rely on it, but had the chance to notice how things have changed over the years.

While underpricing is something so many freelancers struggle with, it’s almost every industry’s standard to take advantage of low-paid contract workers.

Meaning, you might have the skills and passion and experience to show, but employers and companies might still go for the cheaper option as they’ve got a set budget to work with.

Not to worry, though. That’s why I’m creating this guide and will be writing more on getting started with and making money on Upwork. I believe it’s still a super lucrative opportunity for you to grow your income and start something on the side.

It all begins with your profile.

The basic rules are similar to anything else for freelancing success.

Have a nice picture, add all your details (never lie), set some time aside to think of the best description that will resonate with the right employers for you.

Here’s mine, for instance:

how to create a great upwork profile to get hired every time

Add your rate. What I’ve included has been like that for years now, but of course what I charge is much different and depends on the particular job I’m applying for, what time it will take, the client’s budget, my current availability, etc.

2. Experiment with the job proposals.

You’ve got 60 available connects monthly. On Upwork, that means the credits you use to apply for jobs.

In my case, each gig I send a proposal to usually takes 2 connects, so I have the chance to apply to 30 Upwork jobs for free every month.

I think that’s more than enough if you do it the smart way.

It’s okay if you’re just testing things the first month or two, and use different language and tone in each proposal, apply even for jobs that aren’t a good fit for you, keep it short, or go into details about your relevant experience, etc.

The point is to set the goal of using all your available connects for the next 30 days.

If you’re serious about making money as a freelancer, and want to let this be your escape from the 9 to 5, or you want to scale things, or maybe just add a nice side income to your monthly budget, you’ll make a plan now.

How can you divide the Upwork proposals you can send for the next 4 weeks, so that you stick to this and actually get at least one ‘yes’ and make your first dollars online?

This will be quite beneficial to your self-esteem as a contract worker, and the next applications you’ll send will radiate more confidence in your work and abilities.

3. Carefully examine each Upwork job before applying for it.

What I’ve found to work best, is to make sure you only apply for jobs you feel sure about, which seem like a good fit for you, and for which you’ve got relevant samples to show.

In my case, with freelance writing, that’s either an individual just starting a blog on my favorite topics and looking for a writer to help him spread his message.

Or it could be someone wanting a book on the niches I’ve covered for so many years here on my blog.

In such cases, we’ve got a lot in common and I can write a personalized introduction and even share how I can make the project more successful for him.

Speaking of personalization, it’s alright to have a general template for your proposal, but never send these in bulk. It’s awful to receive something from a person and to realize he’s actually talking about another market, or has missed out on a specific piece of information you asked for, or else.

Know that every employee will receive tens of bids in the first 30 minutes or so of posting the job.

4. Comply with Upwork’s terms and conditions.

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Just like it is with any other serious platform in any market, so does making money on Upwork require you to follow their rules.

Carefully go through their user agreement as you might find something interesting that you were about to violate, but which you’ll now keep in mind.

The general stuff, though, is to not take the conversation with an employer (or get paid) outside of their site, never make a second profile, not send the same proposals over and over again, etc.

Know that the admins will find about almost anything you do that’s not meeting their requirements.

All these rules are created for the safety and satisfaction of both parties involved – freelancers and businesses.

So keep it respectful.

5. Make your first clients very, very happy.

Beginnings are hard.

You don’t really have any proof that you can do a good job for someone, so the very first people who hire you on Upwork are basically taking a risk.

You need to make sure you give them a great overall experience, provide even more value with the work you do for them.

That’s for a few reasons, and each is crucial.

For a start, you want to have some history in your profile to show that you are reliable.

Then, you want to gain positive feedback. Upwork reviews go a long way when someone is deciding whether or not to work with you.

What’s more, Upwork gives special attention to the most dedicated freelancers and helps their profiles get noticed first when employers are searching for workers in that category.

6. The money is in the loyal clients.

You’ll start with one-time gigs, but over time you’ll realize that real money from the site can be made via long-term relationships.

That’s mainly because it means recurring income for you, and that brings comfort and sleeping better at night.

But also because of Upwork’s pricing structure that recently changed.

They now favor your work with one client over a longer period of time, and charge smaller fees if you’ve got such employers.

Upwork’s pricing structure

7. Build your portfolio to level up your Upwork game.

I’m all about improving one’s online presence, building a brand around your name in your niche, in order to be known as an expert.

That leads to all kinds of benefits, and is part of your overall online business strategy. Of course, it increases the amount of money you earn too.

In the freelance world, and for the purpose of making money on Upwork and any other similar site, you should also create your own platform and present your work there.

What I’m talking about is setting up your own site and blog, publishing an About, Contact and Portfolio pages, and offering examples of your work.

If you don’t have anything to show, do some work for free if you have to, then ask these people for testimonials.

That’s a game changer.

In my case, samples of articles I’ve already published on my blog are the best I can offer to a potential employer on Upwork.

In my job proposal, I also mention that if they like any of these pieces, they can expect the same quality for the work I’ll do for them.

Simple, true and with attitude!

If starting a blog sounds scary to you, I’ve created a guide with all you need to know on the topic.

If you’re already sold on the idea and have been planning to own a site some time soon, here’s the short version.

You need a web hosting provider, a domain name, and a content management system. These 3 are the foundation of your site.

The most affordable solution for a host, and the company that powers millions of other sites online, is Bluehost.

It’s what I’m using here on Let’s Reach Success.

They offer a free domain name for the first year, and there’s also a one-click install for WordPress (that’s the most popular content management system on the Web, letting you add all possible features to your site with a few clicks).

You can directly head to Bluehost and get started, or you can check out my post on how to set up a WordPress site with Bluehost, where I’ve included screenshots and have given some details you might need to know.

So these are the tips you need to get started with making money on Upwork.

I truly wish you the best of luck. I’ll never forget how I felt the moment I realized I could get paid online for doing what I was doing for free anyways – writing. And this is the platform that connected me with those first clients back in the days.

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How I Became a Location Independent Freelance Writer 28

How I Became a Location Independent Freelance Writer

Writing is what I love doing and I managed to turn it into my career. But that wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without having the freedom to work from anywhere and move to my favorite country. So after I became a freelance writer, I also took a few steps to become location independent.

Let me share how that journey looked like for me and maybe inspire you to take the leap and not just become a freelancer but also travel the world or just leave your home country and never look back.

Stage 1: Overcoming The Doubts

I believe all change happens on the inside first. In the case of becoming a freelance writer and a lifestyle designer, you’d first need to do a couple of things related to developing a strong mindset.

To begin with, define what you don’t like about your current lifestyle. Be clear about it and see yourself living a better life some time from now. This vision will also help you realize what you truly desire.

For me, it was freedom and independence but in a specific way.

I mean, I don’t really need to travel the world. It was enough to spend a few weeks in Thailand and to always have the chance to get back to a destination like that if I feel like. But what I truly desired was to leave my home country, Bulgaria, and instead move to the Netherlands.

However, my transformation started many years ago, before I even knew that’s where I wanted to live. First, I wasn’t satisfied with my life back then. I was already in my 20s and I always felt like I wasn’t spending my time right. So something had to be done.

Doubts are scary.

In fact, they are one of the reasons why so many people all over the world never start a business, end a relationship, travel or else.

Once you get through that stage though, you start having hope, you visualize a better life, and you finally take action. And once you take the first step, magical things begin to happen.

For me, that first step was to define my passion (personal development) and combine it with writing, which I simply loved doing and felt like it was the right way to spend my time.

English is just my second language. I had no official degree in what I’m doing. I wasn’t tech-savvy and had no idea how the Internet actually worked.

But the desire for a different life and more meaningful activities was stronger than any lack of knowledge or experience. So I dedicated the 4 years of my life during university to building the foundation of my online business and the lifestyle I enjoy today.

Stage 2: Getting The First Clients

This is How I Became a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer

I began writing, first on my blog (more on that below), then for others. But the magical ingredient here is reading.

I spent a ton of time (still do and probably always will) reading about people who were already living the life I was after. And that changed it all. I overcame all the doubts because I saw all that I wanted was possible. If other people were living like that and they all started from nothing, then it’s just a matter of time till I get there too.

That encouraged me. And my motivation never decreased because of some people I started following consistently and seeing their progress kept me action-oriented too.

It was time to earn my first dollars freelancing.

The good thing about the Internet is that you don’t have to be anyone in order to land your first gig. Once you do, the second one is easier. You just need someone to pay you for your freelance services so you can have confidence in your abilities and improve your skills.

I never thought I’d be able to call myself a freelance writer, not to mention be location independent together with that. But I left the big picture behind for a while and focused on simpler things. Such as:

What can I do today to land my first client?

After researching, I realized there are sites for freelancers where employers post jobs and I can apply to each that seems like a good fit for me. And so I did.

I created my profiles, had low rates (because any money was good money for me then if it was online), and applied for a few jobs. I had no idea what to say exactly so I just went with what felt right.

I introduced myself when pitching clients and told them how I can help them with their project. Rejection here is normal as there’s a ton of competition.

Eventually, someone hired me for a job and I made my first $20 or so.

It was a short and sweet gig and I did a good job. The communication with the client was smooth.

It’s hard to land someone for the first time, especially in my case. On my profile they could see Bulgaria and that English isn’t my native language. Also, that I’m new to the site and have no previous feedback. Basically, not the most trustworthy freelance writer to hire.

But there are new employers to such platforms too and they are ready to hire you as long as you have something to offer them.

So if you want to make money online and eventually turn that into a business, become location independent and work remotely, or just want to do what you love freelancing, then create your profiles on sites like Upwork, Guru, Freelancer and PeoplePerHour and start pitching.

Stage 3: Building a Blog and a Brand

5 Tips to Negotiate a Higher Salary in an Interview

The 3rd crucial step in my journey to becoming a location independent freelance writer was this blog.

Let’s Reach Success started as a personal blog on self-improvement. But consistency was the key and I seemed to be good at this. It’s because I love writing too of course. It eventually turned into my biggest project and today it’s my portfolio.

There are more than 1600 articles in the archives, a whole book store, proper design (thanks to this premium theme), authority, and a story behind it. Which makes me and Let’s Reach Success kind of a personal brand.

If you haven’t started a site yet, you’re wasting time. Whatever it is that you wanna do online, you need that one platform.

I’ve written a quick guide on how to do that. Check out How to Set Up a WordPress Site on Bluehost. Don’t worry, the technical aspect is easy and I’ve outlined the few simple steps you should take to have your site up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Blogging is a must for every freelance writer. Here’s why:

First, you get to showcase your work. You can write articles all the time and show them to clients. Whenever you want to start writing about a new topic, you’ll simply start covering it on your blog and then provide samples to employers.

You become known as an expert. If you stay consistent and provide unique and quality content frequently, people will know you’re the go-to blogger in the niche. Together with your unique voice and all other things you’re doing on the side, you can build a name for yourself. That means clients will start finding you soon.

Blogging is a learning experience. There’s a lot going on in the archives on my blog. If I go back, I can even see how I’ve grown over the years. Your writing will change too and that’s okay. Your site becomes your biggest project, especially if you’re a writer yourself. Also, it’s thanks to wanting to improve Let’s Reach Success that I’ve learned so much about optimizing content, making money from a blog, and more.

Stage 4: Setting Up an Online Business

Now that you’ve overcome the doubts, have landed your first freelance client, and have your own blog, you can turn that into an online business soon.

First, of course, you’ll need to have some decent income monthly to be a proper location independent freelance writer. Although plenty of people register a company from the beginning and then slowly grow their freelance business.

However, in the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing. I was paying taxes and fees for the freelancing platforms I worked with and that was enough. I wasn’t sure how much more I could make each month.

When I got to a few hundred dollars monthly, though, (which is an amount you can live with back in my home country if you aren’t paying rent), I decided to fix the legal part and register as an independent worker there and start paying my taxes.

Over the next months, I truly believed I’m now a freelance writer earning money from my craft and loved it. Of course, I also wanted to grow, build skills, land better clients, improve my site and see what else I could be doing online.

Stage 5: Choosing Your Ideal Destination and Moving There

amsterdam - the dream location

When I was making $1000/month from my blog and freelance writing services, and because the business was online, I finally felt like I could soon move away and start a new life.

The country I wanted to live in was the Netherlands. I already had friends there and knew it was the place to be for me. So I booked a place in Amsterdam with AirBnB and dedicated these 10 days to finding my new home.

I needed it to be affordable and in a good neighborhood and that’s exactly what I got.

Because I wanted to be there so much and worked hard for it, there hasn’t been a day since I moved that I didn’t wake up with a smile on my face.

That’s one of the main aspects of lifestyle design. Doing work you love and making just enough to be able to live the way you like.

Of course, Amsterdam isn’t cheap so I had to limit my expenses and change things.

Stage 6: Living The Location Independent Lifestyle

I did some traveling too. Spending 5 weeks in Thailand cost me a lot in terms of money (although it could have been cheaper too but I didn’t prepare well) and focus. But it’s safe to say these weeks have been the craziest and most adventurous ones in my life.

I might go back there, but that’s not necessary. I love my daily life too and don’t need an escape from that. The important thing about being a location independent freelance writer is that you have to enjoy the freedom of being where you are. And if you earned your chance to get there, it tastes even better.

Stage 7:  Mastering Working Remotely and From Home

Location independence and freelancing aren’t for everyone as it’s not easy, there are sacrifices to be made and plenty of challenges. One of them is getting distracted and not doing focused work on a daily basis.

One thing I did right though was to build some good productivity habits and eliminate procrastination and distractions early on. In fact, that was when I started making my first money as a freelance writer.

It’s nice to imagine how you can live and work from anywhere 6 months from now. But if you don’t build the discipline in advance and learn how to structure your day so you can do your best work, you won’t make it.

Here are some things that can help:

My Best Productivity Principles

How to Stay Productive While Living The Laptop Lifestyle

Stage 8: Growing The Freelance Writing Business

My focus is on increasing my income now. I got to over $3500. These come from sponsored posts here on Let’s Reach Success and freelance writing for clients.

I’m working on other things too such as increasing book sales and building systems to earn passive income from affiliate marketing. But these don’t come naturally to me so it takes time.

So that’s how I became a location independent freelance writer and how you can do the same.

Here are the exact steps I took to become a location independent freelance writer: